Information Overload: Here's Why Your Sales InMail Isn't Being Read

May 24, 2018

LinkedIn InMail

Think about the last time someone handed you a business report that was overflowing with text, charts, and data. Did your eyes glaze over?

If so, you aren’t alone. Information overload is a very real phenomenon, and your prospects will likely react the same way under similar circumstances. This is crucial to keep in mind as you compose InMails for sales outreach.

Your message won’t make any impact if it doesn’t get read. While a compelling subject line and attention-grabbing intro are crucial in this regard, there are some general readability guidelines you should consistently follow to increase your odds of pulling a recipient in.

Some of them may strike you as a bit counterintuitive, but the data does not lie.

Tips for Maximum LinkedIn InMail Readability

While InMail is a distinctly different channel from email, many of the same writing principles apply: keep it short, use simple language, and get to the point.

Keep Your First Message Short

It can be tempting to include every pertinent detail about your product and why it’s a perfect fit, but avoid this compulsion. Research from the Gmail app Boomerang found that, when it comes to soliciting replies, the word count sweet spot for emails is between 50 and 125 words. This is a good guideline for InMail, where recipients are often busy and viewing on smartphones. Challenge yourself to stay in this range. (For perspective, the paragraph you’re currently reading contains 82 words.)

Use Basic and Straightforward Language

You may feel compelled to use academic language in order to come off as intelligent, eloquent, and trustworthy. However, you are actually better off cutting out the jargon and complex sentences. Boomerang’s study found that emails written at a third-grade level “provided a whopping 36% lift over emails written at a college reading level and a 17% higher response rate than emails written even at a high school reading level.”

There are several apps that can help assess the readability of your message, allowing you the opportunity to adjust your content before sending the InMail. Popular tools include Hemingway Editor and readable.io.

Don’t Put Off Making Your Point

Even if your InMail is short and digestible, the reader will probably abandon if you take too long to get where you’re going. Make sure you include a note of relevance or a specific value proposition right at the top, giving them a reason to proceed and learn more.

Try Following Jill Konrath’s Rule of Three

Expert sales strategist and author Jill Konrath recommends an approach that incorporates much of this advice. She suggests using a maximum of three paragraphs, each no more than three sentences, when writing to a prospect.

The Rule of Three will force you to focus on your objective and stick to one or two central ideas. It also makes your message shorter, and more inviting for your prospect to read.

As Jill puts it, “When you simplify things for your prospects, you will be one beloved seller.”

The Simple Trick to Getting InMail Responses from Prospects

When it comes down to it, getting people to respond requires getting them to read. And for that, your best bet is to keep things brief and simple. Keep a genuine and conversational tone.

To get yourself in the habit of writing in this style, you might try adhering to it every time you write a message or email to a coworker. Ingrain the Rule of Three in your communications, and practice leading off with your main ask or action item.

This will result in readable, meaningful InMail messages that anyone can appreciate.

For more guidance on InMail outreach that leads to productive sales conversations, download our guide, Read Me If You Want to Improve Your InMail Response Rates on LinkedIn.

Topics